I read this post on rethinking e-learning by Clark Quinn with interest.
But in business, our goals are not learning, our goals are improving performance. And courses, particularly the “event” model for courses, are one of the worst ways to go about achieving learning for performance!
When I say, “our goals are not learning,” I mean that our focus needs to be on the ultimate performance needed, not on the associated learning. There are times when the appropriate support will be from peers or mentors, or from job aids, not just from courses.
Though this sounds convincing to me, I have to re-think what learning and performance mean to me, to a business.
Which is more important to you – performance or learning? Which is more important to business – performance or learning? Which is ultimately more important to you or human?
I still think learning is most important. Why? Performance is often measured by others, our customers, employers, teachers, or self and though they are important, they would not be enough to make our life more fulfilling or enriching. On the other hand, learning could be measured by ourselves, and we could often perform better as a result of better learning, and so learning is more likely to be under our/your control, enabling us to become an autonomous learner.
Our individual performance may not improve without learning, though some may perform better because of being compelled to perform, but if the performance improvement is not self motivated, would it last long?
So would learning be our ultimate goal, not performance? In the short run, performance is a goal for the business, and personal performance is also a personal goal, but in the long run, learning is a goal for ourselves to develop as a person, in all areas, not just performance in business. Besides, as we may not be employed by any business for life, we need to think about how we could develop further through continuous life long and wide learning.
And so we shouldn’t be relying on performance as a benchmark only, as often in a complex world, our individual performance is often influenced by others. Our learning is in our own hands, and we could often perform better through improved learning and innovation.
So, which is more important to you, even if it is in business? Learning or performance?